Scripture: Lectionary 127, Sunday, Sept. 1. Sirach 3:17-18.20.28-29. Psalm 68: 4-5,6-7,10-11. Hebrews 12:18-19,22-24. Luke 14:1. 7-14:
How do we know we are following God’s will? How do we realize we are part of salvation history? The Scriptures are among the surest ways of knowing God’s will when we take the time to study them, research them, pray them and listen to them in the liturgy. We have some clear statements of how to cooperate with God’s plan in our lives and how to do God’s will. All of the readings help us today in this pursuit and search for how to live a life in union with our Creator and our Redeemer.
It is the providence of God that we see in the Wisdom Book of Sirach. God favors those who are truly humble, who are poor, that is totally dependent on God, and those who rejoice by recalling the presence of God in their lives. We learn that true wisdom is accompanied by humility and not going beyond what we cannot really be. We are not to be climbers in the realm of salvation of history but those who are content with what gives us in the way of talents of mind, heart, and soul. The writer of Sirach encourages us to learn from the wisdom of the ages seen in parables and wisdom sayings found in the Scriptures and also in surrounding cultures. Many proverbs in the Bible come from the influence of Egyptian wisdom collections.
Our Psalms help us to understand biblical humility which is not ascetical but rather a spiritual experience of knowing full well that only God can really help us to lead good lives. The poor in the psalms are those who depend totally on God for they know that God alone can help them in their state of poverty. They are called the ‘Anawim of God or the Poor of God and the psalms are expressions of their hearts crying out to God in their needs. The Mother of Jesus, Mary of Nazareth, is a model person for what it means to be a Poor of God. Her “yes” to God (Luke 1:38) and her Magnificat are examples of her prayer (see Luke 1:46-56). We do well to think of her and pray with her at our side when reciting the same psalms that she taught her son, Jesus.
The Epistle to the Hebrews point out the ultimate goal of our lives which is to be united with God in the new Jerusalem, the heavenly golden city of Zion where Jesus as a unique mediator is there helping us to enjoy seeing the glory of God in eternity. We need to keep the ultimate goal of the Blessed Vision of God alive in our hearts in order to do the will of God daily. Some saints used to question themselves about their actions and works by repeating, “What does this profit me for eternity?”
Jesus is Wisdom personified. He knows how to reach the mind and heart of a listener by using picture parables like the one offered today about an invitation to the banquet of a generous Lord. We should not rush to the places of honor. Let the Lord call us to where we truly belong and are welcomed among others who are humble of heart. Amen.
“Every saint has a past; every sinner has a future.” (Oscar Wilde).
Copyright 2013 Fr. Bertrand Buby, S.M.